Today I read a number of blogs that labored over things that happen during worship that might be distracting to the worshiper.
Worrying about whether or not our worship offering to God is distracting just seems silly. What is the Biblical precedence for this kind of thinking? I can't think of anything - sure there are passages that warn us about doing things for our own gain - but that isn't the same as worrying about being distracting.
When it comes to our worship offering we need to be concerned with excellence. Not whether or not person A or B is going to be distracted by something that is going on during the service. I have said this a thousand times: if somebody is distracted from giving God his due during our corporate worship offering, then the problem isn't the thing that distracted him in the first place, the problem is the individual's lack of discipline when it comes to worshiping God.
Back when I was learning to fly planes, I had an instructor who would jab me and throw things at me while I was working out particularly complicated problems. He did this while we were on the ground, he would do this while we were in the air. He would make me put on a hood and then make me put my head between my legs (as much as you can do in a little plane) then completely disorient the plane. Then he would say "OK, fix it. You have 10 seconds". So while I'm assessing and fixing, he would complicate things by hitting me in the head with the Snickers bar that he had in his pocket (this is probably why I don't like Snickers anymore).
While it was annoying, and even angering, it really helped me learn to focus in tight situations. Seems to me that if we want to make worshipers less distracted, the goal should be to allow more distractions during worship service (though, I'm not sure how to do this and accomplish excellence).
I basically agree; but I've had enough worship services practically destroyed by an overzealous fellow associate pastor who didn't think we were worshipping with enough zeal. Such a person usually manages to get hands in the air and some movement, but the purpose and focus of the service has been gutted. I have also seen, to their credit, other staff pastors come up, sensing where a service should be going but isn't, and have rescued it from meaninglessness (a fate worse than bad chords, hecklers or loud congregants with goat voices). When you have a fellow pastor who understands the nature of the worship service and can gently come alongside like a tugboat nudging it into the deep channel, you have a wonderful friend and ally.
I'm with Rick on this one - if we can remove the distractions, let's do that. It sounds like we're trying to set up a spiritual base camp and stress each other to our distractable limits! (I know you were just trying to make a point, but don't hate Snicker's bars...)
"Hey joe, put down that drumstick and bean that lady with a Snicker's bar, she looks too focused."
Nothing makes me smile more than a baby crying in service. But after a few minutes, he / she becomes a distraction. I think that's just human of me. Maybe if someone offered me a Snicker's bar while he's crying, I wouldn't be distracted any more. I hate getting chocolate on my guitar strings.
Another aspect of distractions during worship (and this is referring to the entire time of worship service rather than the music times) is the use of personal technology, i.e. smart phones and iPads. Has that topic surfaced in your church and how are you handling it?
I'd anticipate that many are taking the movie theater approach: please put your cell phone on silence or turn them off. Yet a few churches are trying to incorporate cell phones and smart phones in worship like texting in questions for a Q&A time.
dude (spent 30+ years in CA--so i'm allowed to say dude--jerseyites just don't use the word much)--some of us here are old enough to remember the times before disposable lighters having to hold up matches--or for the not so bright ones among us (GULP) lit pieces of paper. is there a term to mean older than old skule? maybe old old skule or ancient skule would work. one of my favorite posts on this site used the term 'old old school musos'.